Louisiana

Drive down this short stretch of St. Bernard Avenue, and you will see signs of a struggling neighborhood in despair. Bars, blighted homes, metal-grated storefronts, and the still-shuttered Circle Food Store tell the story of this strip.  Here in New Orleans’ 7th ward, hope and sustenance have been drained by Katrina’s floodwaters, and by decades of racism’s insidious trend of sapping vital resources from a community.

Last week, Hurricane Katrina survivors packed two Greater New Orleans churches and voiced some of the frustration, anger, and hurt that they’ve been nursing over the “Road Home” recovery program.  The public meetings, in St. Bernard parish and New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, were held to inform residents about inequities and corruption in the housing program.


After Hurricane Gustav in 2008, north Baton Rouge residents were left without electricity for nearly two weeks. Across the street at ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge refinery, the second largest refinery in the country, workers were dealing with their own mess.

I first met JJ Creppel last summer while standing in the checkout line of the Buras Dollar Store. It’s one of the few places in this Louisiana fishing town deep down in the bayou where you can buy basic groceries and milk. Nearly all the other stores were destroyed five years ago in the monster storm that roared through here and leveled this community of 5,000 people.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Louisiana